After almost four whole years of Donald Trump, scientists are still trying to figure out the question: what do people see in this guy? The answer seems to be that people who love Donald Trump see the exact same stuff that people who hate him do. They just aren’t as worried about how his seemingly horrible personality makes him a dangerous man to be in charge of the country. In a new study published in Clinical Psychological Science, authors Jacob A. Fiala, Salwa A. Mansour, Shannon E. Matlock, and Frederick L. Coolidge surveyed 219 voters to get an idea of who was saying what.
The researchers didn’t want to directly ask Trump voters, “Hey, have you noticed he’s a sack of sh*t?”
They instead showed them two clips of equal length, one showing the president in a positive light, one in a negative, according to Psypost. Then they gave them a questionnaire,
“We did not just directly ask participants whether they thought Donald Trump was sadistic, narcissistic, or etc. Rather, participants were asked to complete a validated personality inventory, which asked them to rate how accurately numerous different statements like ‘He feels that he deserves special treatment from others’ described Donald Trump,” Fiala explained.
In the group surveyed, 59 percent said they voted for Clinton in 2016, and 41 percent voted for Trump. It seemed like none of them were very influenced by the videos. They were all already very familiar with the man, as everyone has come to be. The big thing the researchers noticed is that both conservatives and liberals saw the president as “highly sadistic, narcissistic, antisocial, and passive-aggressive.” His own supporters saw him as displaying these characteristics at a level of 90 percent higher than a regular person.
“So, my key take-away is that American voters were not as divided on whether Donald Trump displays narcissistic traits, for example, as they were on what it means to have a leader with narcissistic traits,” said Fiala. “What can be expected of a leader with narcissistic traits?”
But the researchers warn that this is not a study about what Trump’s personality is. To assess that, he’d actually have to see a real doctor. This is just about perception. Trump’s followers perceive him perfectly well—whether they care is another question.